Joico Laboratories, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and distributor of professional salon hair care products. Conkle, Kremer & Engel represented Joico and its president, Steve Stefano, in an action against a competitor, L’Anza Research Laboratories, and its president, Robert Delanza. The lawsuit asserted that L’Anza and Delanza made false claims in the salon industry about L’Anza, Joico and Joico’s products – for example, L’Anza claimed that Delanza formulated Joico products, that L’Anza manufactured products for Joico, and that Delanza was a good friend of Joico’s president. These assertions were never true. L’Anza’s misrepresentations caused damage to Joico, and Joico sued for unfair competition, defamation and other claims.

Joico obtained an injunction during the pendency of the action — the Court ordered that L’Anza stop making misrepresentations about Joico. L’Anza disobeyed the Court’s order by continuing to make the misrepresentations.

At trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, Joico presented testimony and written evidence to show that L’Anza and Delanza lied to hairdressers about their product ingredients, suppressed information about defective products, claimed that L’Anza manufactured its own products when the products were actually made by a company that made dog shampoo, engaged in diversion of L’Anza products outside the salon industry and lied about it (one authorized L’Anza distributor was a notorious diverter). Delanza either denied the lies or tried to justify them as legitimate marketing devices.

The jury found that L’Anza and Delanza had intentionally made false statements, and that they had acted with fraud, malice or oppression. The jury awarded Joico and Steve Stefano $5.5 million in damages, including punitive damages.

    $5 million jury verdict against L’Anza and Delanza, in favor of Joico and Stefano [$5 million in favor of Joico and Stefano]

    $500,000 punitive damage verdict against Delanza, in favor of Stefano [$500,000 in favor of Stefano]

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